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Science curriculum for K—5th grades.

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Weather Watching

Weather & Seasons

Kindergarten, 1st Grade

NGSS Standards covered: K-2-ETS1-3 , K-ESS3-2 , K-2-ETS1-1 , K-2-ETS1-2 , K-PS3-1 , K-ESS2-1 , K-PS3-2
This unit helps students develop the habit of becoming weather watchers who take pleasure in noticing weather patterns and predicting changes. Less
  1. Lessons
  2. Activity Prep
  3. Assessments

Mystery 1: Weather Conditions & Tracking

Be a Weather Watcher

In this Mystery students start their path toward becoming weather watchers! They learn the different factors involved in describing the weather, then observe and draw the weather.

Number of students:
30 clipboards
90 crayons. Choose 3 different colors for the sky, clouds, and sun. Colored pencils or markers also work.
Details Hide details
Weather Drawing printout Print 30 copies

Prep Instructions

If the weather is nice, take your students for a walk and let them draw while they are outside. If that’s not possible, you’ll need a window that lets them observe the weather while drawing.

When students are drawing, you may need to remind them to pay attention to the four aspects of the weather that are discussed in this mystery: what you see in the sky, the temperature, the wind, and rain/snow. We’ve included icons in the corner of the drawing sheet as a reminder.

Consider having students repeat this activity when the weather changes. Drawing gives them a tool that will help them pay attention to changes in the weather that they may otherwise overlook.

Read-Along Mystery 2: Weather Conditions & Preparation

Weather Watchers

In this Read-Along Mystery, JJ and his grandfather get ready for a big storm. This Read-Along Mystery includes a short exercise where students observe the weather and imagine how to prepare for a storm. If you want to extend the lesson, you can try this optional activity where students track the weather for four days.

For the Read-Along Mystery, you don’t need any materials.

If you choose to do the Weather Window activity, each student will need:

Mystery 3: Seasons & Patterns

Circle of Seasons

In this Mystery students use observations of the four classic seasons to spot patterns and thereby determine the seasons’ order.

Step 1: Think ahead.

This mystery introduces your students to the four classic seasons of the temperate zone: snowy winter, warm spring, hot summer, and cool autumn with colorful leaves. (If you live somewhere that doesn't experience these seasons, we strongly recommend doing this lesson first, then extending the lesson further.)

Step 2: Get supplies

Each pair of students will need:

Each student will need:

  • scissors

You will also need a Circle of Seasons Wall Display. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, use this .

You may also need:

  • tape or pushpins so you can hang the Circle of Seasons Wall Display
  • colored pencils or crayons (if you want students to color their Season Sorting Cards)

Step 3: What’s next?

To make students aware of seasonal changes, we suggest they keep a weather journal for a few days in fall, winter, spring, and summer. (The Weather Window in our first kindergarten weather mystery is a simple way to do this.) When students have completed all four seasons, compare the results in a class discussion. Look for patterns or trends in the weather where you live.

Read-Along Mystery 4: Weather & Daily Patterns

Wind and Weather

In this Read-Along Mystery, Kevin becomes a weather detective to figure out why he keeps losing his clothes. This Read-Along Mystery includes a short exercise where students observe the weather and compare it to what they remember from earlier in the day. If you want to extend the lesson, you can try this optional activity. Through poetry and observation, students start noticing which way the wind is blowing, an important factor in how weather changes over time.

This activity does not require supplies.

Prep Instructions

You’ll need access to a window or an outdoor area where students can observe the effects of any breezes or winds that are blowing. You can’t see the wind, but you know it’s blowing if you see a flag flapping or hear leaves rustling as they move.

Mystery 5: Sun, Heat, & Engineering

Chill City

In this Mystery, students experiment with ways to bring light and warmth to a cold place where the sun doesn’t shine throughout the winter.

In this activity, students working in pairs reflect light into shadow, bringing warmth to a paper town called Chill City.

Step 1: Plan ahead

To prepare for this activity, you’ll need a way to cast good shadows on student worksheets. Most classrooms have overhead lights designed to create even, shadow-free illumination. You’ll need to turn off those overheads and find another way to cast shade on Chill City.

If you have a bank of windows that will be brightly lit when you do this activity, you may be able use them as your light source. To see if this will work, fold up the edge of a piece of paper, turn off the overhead lights, and see if you get a shadow on the page, like this:

Chill City

If your window isn’t bright enough, a table lamp with no shade can work well as a source of “sunlight.” Put the lamp on the floor and have students sit in a circle around it.

Step 2: Get supplies

You’ll need:

  • envelopes big enough to contain experiment supplies (1 per pair of students; see Step 4 for assembly instructions)
  • scissors (1 per pair of students)
  • stickers or pieces of masking tape (2 per pair of students)
    • We use stickers like these because they substitute well for strips of tape and are easier to hand out in a large class
  • 3 x 5 card (1 per pair of students)
  • aluminum foil
  • clear plastic report covers (2 for a class of 32)
  • black construction paper (4 sheets for a class of 32)
  • colored construction paper (4 sheets for a class of 32)

Step 3: Print out worksheets

Step 4: Prepare for class

Cut report covers and construction paper into 8 equal pieces, like this:

Chill City

For each pair of students, assemble an envelope of supplies containing:

  • 3 x 5 card
  • 3” x 5” piece of aluminum foil
  • piece of clear plastic
  • piece of black construction paper
  • piece of colored construction paper

Read-Along Mystery 6: Sun & Heat

Where Is It Hot? Where Is It Not?

In this Read-Along Mystery, Keya needs to find a way to get from the swimming pool to the ice cream truck without burning her bare feet on the hot pavement: Can she do it? This Read-Along Mystery includes a short exercise where students practice mapping a cool path across hot pavement, and then act it out. If you want to extend the lesson, you can try this optional activity where students examine a photo and look for sunny hot spots and shady cool spots.

This activity does not require supplies.

Prep Instructions

For the Read-Along Mystery, you will not need any supplies. We suggest additional activities in the Extras at the end of this Mystery.